Top Cruise and Vacation Discounts for Feds and Retirees for 2020

February 25, 2020 2:19 PM
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Cruise ship in the ocean at sunset

Many Feds planning their next vacation probably don’t know that there are a plethora of resources and discounts available to save them money on cruises, tours and all-inclusive resorts, and there is no better time to plan a trip than the winter months when a lot of travel companies feature their best deals and many of them can be combined with the existing Fed discounts. Free drinks, free Internet, free shore excursions and free airfare are all available on many cruises right now for those looking to go to Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean or Bermuda.

How Can Federal Employees Make Sure They are Getting the Best Deal?

There are many cruise and vacation resources available online, and the choices can be overwhelming.

While it is always a good idea to do some comparison-shopping, in most cases the best option for Feds is to contact a travel agency that specializes in servicing government employees or military members. Those agencies negotiate directly with the cruise lines, resorts and tour operators to provide exclusive discounted prices and extra perks, which can save Feds hundreds of dollars. Often even the large online retailers do not have access to these discounts.

I have compiled a list of the most popular agencies serving the government community at the end of this article.

Celebrity Cruises

Right now, Celebrity is offering a great deal with free drinks and pre-paid gratuities included in the price of many of their cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe.

Celebrity’s ships have been consistently voted as the best ships in the industry and they are the perfect fit for those looking for great food and amazing service.

If you are looking for a more adult-oriented vacation at an affordable price, Celebrity currently has some great options for federal employees. Exclusive Fed offers include 7-day Alaska cruises from under $800 pp, 7-day Caribbean cruises from around $700 pp and 7-day Mediterranean cruises from under $1,000 pp.

Royal Caribbean 

Everyone has seen those enticing commercials on TV showing Royal Caribbean’s ships featuring water slides, zip lines, flying simulators and bumper cars, but many people assume that the price of those cruises is out of their price range. Not so! Hundreds of Royal Caribbean cruises each year have special Fed rates, even ones during the most popular times like summer vacation and the winter holidays.

Also, Royal Caribbean has a lot of different departure ports including Miami, Galveston, New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, Seattle and San Juan making it possible for many Feds to drive to their cruise and save money on the flights. They also offer a lot of connecting rooms and rooms for 5 people on most of their ships making it easy for larger families to go on vacation.

Currently Royal Caribbean is offering “Kids Sail Free” on some low season cruises as well as special winter discounts on the Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe and Canada/New England. 

River Cruises

River cruises are the best way to explore many European cities not accessible on an ocean cruise. The ships sailing on the rivers are small (under 200 guests) and they typically command a much higher price than the ocean cruises, making a lot of people feel that they are out of their budget. However, what they do not realize is that river cruises are all-inclusive, bundling all costs into the price – excursions, drinks, internet, etc. 

And, if you are ready to travel on a short notice, it is possible to get a great deal on a river cruise. Several river cruise companies offer “secret deals”, available only through select travel agencies, where they offer free airfare, discounted prices and sometimes even other extras if you can travel within the next 6 months, provided you are ready to take whatever cabins are still available.

Right now, Feds can still score a great river cruise deal on a Rhine or Danube cruise or a cruise through France or Germany for this spring or summer. Prices for some of those cruises are under $2,500 pp including the airfare from US.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Similar to Royal Caribbean, Norwegian is the perfect cruise line for families looking for a lot of activity and entertainment. Their ships are the first to feature a car racing track at sea, as well as laser tag, water slides, and 20+ restaurant options.

Right now, Norwegian has a great offer with free drinks, excursions and internet included in the price of many cabins. Also, for families looking to travel in the off season, there are some dates where the kids can sail either for free or for just $99 pp. 

Feds can take advantage of exclusive onboard credit, offered on most Norwegian cruises booked during the first few months of this year as well as occasional other extras available throughout the year.

The Best “Least Known” Cruise Deal – Repositioning Cruises

For Feds who have more time available for travel, the best deal that few people are aware of are the so called repositioning cruises.

These cruises sail across the ocean several times a year, usually in the Spring and Fall. Most of them sail between Europe and the US but some reposition between Hawaii and the mainland US or Canada and Florida.

Lasting anywhere from 10 to 20+ days, these cruises are too long for most and that is why cruise lines offer them at super-low prices. In addition, many of them provide special discounts for federal employees. As a result, you may be able to snag a 15-day cruise for a little over $500 pp or a 14-day cruise including drinks and gratuities for a little over $1,000 pp.

All-inclusive Resorts and Escorted Tours

Both regular hotels and all-inclusive resorts frequently offer deals for government workers (unfortunately retirees are not eligible for these discounts).

While most hotel discounts are easily accessible though the hotel’s website (by searching for a government rate), the discounts on all-inclusive vacations are only available through one of the Fed-focused travel agencies. Right now, the best deals are on Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, with some offering a 7-day stay including airfare for around $1000 pp.

For those Feds interested in more in-depth guided tours, there are also deals to be had on many European destinations like Ireland, Greece, Spain and Italy. Those offers are also only available thorough specialized agencies, which can help Feds plan the entire trip, from start to finish. The best time to visit Europe on a budget is early Spring or late Fall, with many 7+ day tours available for under $1,000 pp during those months.

Travel Agencies Offering the Best Deals for Federal Employees and Military is a web site created specifically for government employees. They work directly with most of the major river and ocean cruise lines to offer the best cruise deals on hundreds of cruises each year. focuses on special deals on all-inclusive resorts and escorted tours around the world.

MilitaryCruiseDeals is a family-owned business that offers some of the best prices on cruises for active and retired members of the military.

Armed Forces Vacation Club is a great resource for members of the military looking to plan a non-cruise vacation, offering R&R vacations, all-inclusive resorts and tour discounts.

© 2020 Polia Marinova. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Polia Marinova.


About the Author

A veteran of the travel industry, Poli Marinova is a travel blogger, avid cruiser and a federal employee spouse who is always looking for the next best vacation deal. As the co-founder of, she negotiates directly with cruise lines to get exclusive deals for federal employees.